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Apollo Lunar Modules | by jurvetson
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Apollo Lunar Modules

A titanium deployment and downlock truss from the landing gear of the lunar module beckons in the corner…

 

But the autopilot brain-in-a-box is much more interesting.

 

It's a core memory module from a Saturn LVDC (Launch Vehicle Digital Computer). They are quite rare as scrap dealers recover $20-30K of gold and platinum from these cores. (more photos from the spaceaholic source of this). The outer wrap consists of timing, drive, inhibit and sensing circuits.

 

More interesting still is the ghost in the machine. The magnetic cores within still hold whatever program they had when powered down. Since there are no tapes or archives of the code, it is possible that the only remaining copy of the Saturn V flight program is in cores like this. I have the load/write boards, and they look very wonky. If you know of any living domain expert on this system, please point them my way.

 

This module holds 114k bits (14 planes with a 128 x 64 fabric of ferrite donuts)... encoding 13-bit instructions, with the first triple-redundant logic. Ultrasonic delay line cache. Destructive readouts. Failure is not an option.

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Taken on December 15, 2009